THE redesign of the civic heart of Glasgow is being undermined by its repeated use as a giant fun fair, it has been claimed.
Days after it emerged that a £500,000 surface laid just five months ago was showing signs of wear and tear, the firm behind the work in George Square has blamed the fairground rides dragged across it.
The Fraser Bruce Group has also expressed surprise at the extent to which heavy machinery has been allowed onto the square without safeguards to the surface so close to its use as a centrepiece in the run-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
It comes as it emerges that the fairground ride operators currently based in George Square had to be told to scale back their operation after they took up more space than their agreement permitted.
The Herald revealed last week small areas around George Square had been gouged, while the surface in others had been scuffed to show the hugely unpopular red asphalt, which covered the square for more than a decade. According to head of the firm, Fraser Bruce, there is also evidence of ground damage caused by rust fluid and fuel spillage.
Opposition politicians have demanded a report on the damage and durability of the surface.
But Mr Bruce said: "Quite simply there's been too much weight for the original red asphalt we put a new surface on top of. Whatever has been put on top after our work has caused the damage.
"We have had confirmation from Glasgow City Council that it's not been of our doing. I am surprised they have allowed fairground rides onto the square without any requirements for protection from being cut up.
"We had assumed the square would be primarily for walking events, marquees and the like in the run-up to and as part of the Commonwealth Games. We wouldn't have recommended the resin we did if we'd known such heavy equipment would be routinely dragged across it."
George Square was the focus of a debacle in 2012 and early last year after council leader Gordon Matheson announced a revamp then changed his mind shortly after specially-recruited experts selected their winning design.
Although Mr Matheson was cleared of any wrongdoing by watchdogs and police, the costly fiasco left the council open to ridicule. A temporary refit was carried out, with the red surface replaced by speckled grey resin.
A city council spokesman said: "We are happy with the work carried out on the square's resurfacing and have a positive ongoing relationship with the company that carried out the work.
"We have a maintenance programme that allows events to take place and will ensure the square will look its best during the Commonwealth Games."